Worrying is something we all do and, in moderation, is healthy. There are three different levels of worrier and once you know what level you’re on you can find the right approach to help you manage your worry. So, let’s take a look at the different kinds of worrier…
Level one is a healthy level of worry. Going through life without any worry at all is not only impossible, it would also be quite dangerous. Worry can serve a purpose, it can keep us safe and act as a motivator. It’s healthy to worry a little so that we go through life thinking about what we’re doing rather than mindlessly charging along without a care. When a healthy worrier has finished weighing up the issue they let it go and move on with their lives.
The third level of worry (I know, I’ll get to level two in a moment) is where it has grown into anxiety. Worry has become more than the person can handle with it negatively impacting their life, preventing them from living as they want. When worry becomes an anxiety disorder that interferes with how you feel able to live your life it’s advisable to seek treatment from a medical professional such as a trained counsellor or therapist. If you feel you’re in this third level speak to your GP or call Mind on 0300 1233393.
Level two is where a lot of us live. This middle band of worriers can find themselves getting stuck in a worry loop. Rather than think through a concern, reach a conclusion and then move on from the thought, over-thinking worriers remain in that loop, going over and over the issue. They get bogged down with trying to think of all possible outcomes, guessing at scenarios and imagining conversations. They replay previous events, attempting to analyse tone of voice and body language, looking for implied meaning where it may not be. Do any of these seem familiar?
• If a friend, colleague, or even stranger, reacts to you in a different way than expected you worry it must be because they’re upset with you, taken offence or that you did something wrong
• When something terrible happens in the world you find yourself glued to the news, even though you can feel yourself getting more upset and worried about the state of the world
• On a happy occasion or when you notice how joyful you’re feeling, there’s a nagging worry in the back of your mind that things are going too well and something will go wrong because you’re happy
• When you’re with other people you get distracted wondering how you’re coming across to them, what opinion they’re forming of you from your appearance, your voice, your behaviour
• After an event that you enjoyed or went well you feel annoyed with yourself that you spent energy and time worrying about it beforehand
• You imagine scenarios where you face hardship or trauma and worry how you’d cope
The overthinking worrier doesn’t let their worry reach a point where it stops them living their lives but it does take away some of the enjoyment of their life. Spending time stuck in worry means there’s less time and energy to be present and enjoy all of the good things in your life and the world around you. Even when you know you’re getting bogged down in worry you find it hard to extricate yourself from your thoughts and be in your life, just as it is in that moment.
You know that you spend more time worrying than you want to, you know that you’re not enjoying your life quite as fully as you feel you could, and you want that to change. You want to be really in that moment with your family or friends, experiencing the joy that you can see others feeling. You want to feel content with what you have and look forward to future challenges without feeling fed up with your current lot. You want to feel that, while it may be upsetting and difficult, whatever curveballs life throws up you will be able to cope with them.
You, my over-thinking worrier friends, are in the right place. I’m here for you. I’m one of you. Within these pages I share how you can spend less of your time worrying and more of your time enjoying life. Browse the blog posts, check out the courses and be sure to take a look inside my inspiration library.
Photo by Caleb George for Unsplash